vers 1640, 107 X 82, São Paulo Museum of Art
Bienheureux Guillaume Howard
Martyr en Angleterre (✝ 1680)
Fils de Thomas, comte d'Arundel, né en 1616 et élevé dans la religion catholique, petit-fils de saint Philippe Howard, il avait le titre de vicomte Stafford, il fut fait chevalier de l'Ordre du Bain par le roi Charles 1er et épousa Marie Stafford en 1637. Il devint baron de Stafford en 1640 (un comté de Virginie aux États-Unis porte son nom). Il fut arrêté sur la fausse information de complicité dans le complot dit polonais, emprisonné pendant deux ans puis décapité. Il a été béatifié en 1929.
À Londres, en 1680, le bienheureux Guillaume Howard, martyr. Vicomte de Stafford, petit-fils de saint Philippe Howard, élevé dans la foi catholique, il fut arrêté sur la fausse accusation de complot contre le roi Charles II, enfermé à la tour de Londres, déclaré coupable et décapité.
Son of Thomas, earl of Arundel, England. Grandson of Saint Philip Howard. Raised Catholic in England in a time when the faith was being persecuted.Married Mary Stafford in 1637. Viscount of Stafford in England. Baron Stafford in 1640. Exiled in 1642 for political reasons, and lived in theNetherlands. Undertook diplomatic missions in Flanders and Switzerland for Emperor Ferdinand. His family was impoverished when the English Parliment impounded his lands. Arrested in Heidelberg in 1653 and Utrect in1656 for apparently political reasons, but he was acquitted of all charges.
In 1660 his family property was reinstated, the fortunes of his family turned around, and they returned to England. Accused of complicity in the “Popish Plot”, he was sent to the Tower of London on 25 October 1678. Imprisonedfor two years before they bothered to try him, he was condemned before the trial started. Though he had no involvement in the “Plot”, he was martyred for being an influential, high-profile Catholic.
Ven. William Howard
Viscount Stafford, martyr; born 30 November, 1614; beheaded Tower-Hill, 29 December, 1680. He was grandson of the Venerable Philip Howard, Earl of Arundel, mentioned above, fifth son of Earl Thomas (the first great art collector of England), and uncle ofThomas Philip, Cardinal Howard. Brought up as a Catholic, he was made a knight of the Bath, at the coronation of Charles I, 1 February, 1626, and married Mary, sister of the last Baron Stafford, October, 1637; the title was revived for him 12 September, 1640, and he was immediately afterwards created a viscount. He is said to have joined the royal army during the Civil War, but perhaps erroneously, for in 1642 he was in Holland, attending the exiled royal family and his mother and father. He was also employed by the Emperor Ferdinand in missions to Flanders and Switzerland. After his father's death, 4 October 1646, many painful quarrels with his nearest relatives ensued. The Howard properties in England having been sequestrated by Parliament, thefamily was much impoverished, and William's eldest surviving brother, Earl Henry Frederick, was induced to commence a series ofunjust and vexatious suits against his mother, and practically robbed her of her dowry. William, as her representative, was involved in these painful and prolonged quarrels, and even after both mother and brother had passed away, his cousins and their agents continued against him a quasi-persecution for several years.
The details of these transactions are obscure, but it would seem that the viscount was, under foreign law twice actually arrested, at Heidelberg, July to September, 1653, and at Utrecht in January, 1656, in the latter case he was acquitted with honour, though the charges, of which the particulars are not now known were insulting and vexatious (Stafford Papers, 15 January, 1656, see below). In these troubles his most dangerous opponents were perhaps Junius and other literary adherents of his father, who were claiming manuscripts and rarities from the Arundel Collections in payment of their debts, while Lord William successfully proved that those collections were not liable to such charges. Though they lost, they continued to write bitterly of him, and these complaints have found a permanent record in the diaries and other writings of Evelyn, Burnet, Dugdale, etc. After the Restoration, 1660, his rightswere firmly established and his life within his large family circle must have been extremely happy. The brightest hours were perhaps those spent in conducting his nephew Philip to receive the cardinal's hat in Rome (1675).
Three years later Oates (q.v.) and his abetters included Lord Stafford in their list of Catholic lords to be proscribed, and eventually he was put first upon the list. It has been supposed that this was done because his age, simplicity, and the previous differences with other members of his family suggested that he would prove comparatively easy prey. On 25 October, 1678, he was committed to the Tower, and it was more than a year before it was decided to try him. Then the resolution was taken so suddenly that he had little time to prepare. The trial, before the House of Lords, lasted from 30 November to 7 December, and was conducted with great solemnity. But no attempt was made to appraise the perjuries of Oates, Dugdale, and Tuberville, and the viscount was of course condemned by 55 votes to 31. It is sad to read that all his kinsmen but one (that one, however, the Lord Mowbray, with whom he had had many of the legal conflicts above here noticed) voted against him. His last letters and speeches are marked by a quiet dignity and a simple heroism, which give us a high idea of his character. His fellow prisoner and confessor, Father Corker, O.S.B., says: "He was ever held to be of a generous disposition, very charitable, devout, addicted to sobriety, inoffensive in words, a lover ofjustice." A portrait of him by Van Dyck belongs to the Marquess of Bute.
Pollen, John Hungerford. "Ven. William Howard." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 29 Dec. 2017 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07504a.htm>.
Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Michael C. Tinkler.
Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. June 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.
Blessed William Howard M (AC)
Born 1616; died in London, England, in 1680; beatified in 1929. Viscount William of Stafford was the grandson of Saint Philip Howard. He was accused of complicity in the "Popish Plot" and after being imprisoned for two years was beheaded on Tower Hill (Benedictines).
Beato Guglielmo Howard Visconte di Stafford, martire
30 novembre 1614 – 29 dicembre 1680
Martirologio Romano: A Londra in Inghilterra, beato Guglielmo Howard, martire, che, visconte di Stafford, professò la fede cattolica e, falsamente accusato per questo di cospirazione contro il re Carlo II, morì per Cristo con un colpo di scure.
William Howard era il nipote di San Filippo Howard, già trattato in data 19 ottobre. Nel 1675 fu arrestato ed imprigionato nella celebre Torre di Londra, accusato di aver protetto dei cattolici, ed infine condannato a morte e giustiziato dopo cinque anni.
William diventò visconte di Stafford nel 1637, in seguito al matrimonio con l’ultima erede del casato. Il re inglese Carlo I nominò baroni William e la moglie. Nella guerra civile che scoppiò poco dopo, appoggiò il partito monarchico e perse così tutte le sue proprietà terriere, restituitegli poi nel 1660 con l’ascesa al trono di Carlo II. William si sentì però non sufficientemente compensato per la sua lealtà alla corona e da quel momento inizò a provare un sentimento di rancore verso il nuovo sovrano. Nel 1678 litigò pubblicamente con il conte di Peterborough nel corso di un dibattito alla Camera dei Lord, episodio che gli guadagnò non pochi nemici.
Nello stesso anno William fu denunciato per sospetta complicità nel “complotto papista” ideato da Tito Oates, accusato di aver progettato l’assassinio del re Carlo II. In tal modo sarebbe succeduto infatti al trono inglese il fratello Giacomo II, di religione cattolica. Il complotto si rivelò però assolutamente fittizio e difficilmente William Howard avrebbe potuto esserne un complice vista la sua età ormai avanzata. Tuttavia, regnando un’atmosfera generale di sospetto ed apprensione, la sua semplice appartenenza alla Chiesa Cattolica fu sufficiente per incriminarlo. Imprigionato nella Torre, fu poi processato dai suoi pari nella Westminster Hall.
Secondo la testimonianza del cronista John Evelyn, persino alcuni suoi parenti votarono contro di lui. Evelyn, che lo conosceva personalmente, escluse a priori che un uomo maturo ed esperto come Howard avesse potuto prendere parte al complotto, dando l’incarico a degli estranei di uccidere il sovrano. Lo colpì l’impressionante compostezza di William, che “parlò molto poco... e si comportò molto umilmente, come al solito” ma fu comunque ritenuto colpevole. Il 29 dicembre 1680, prima di essere decapitato, invocò: “Signore, perdona colore che hanno giurato il falso contro di me”.
William Howard fu beatificato il 15 dicembre 1929.
Autore: Fabio Arduino